Fitting Everyone in God’s Picture

A group of young men and women smile up at a camera.

A selfie stick can be a beautiful thing. Just ask Ryan and 30,000 of his closest friends.

Ryan traveled to the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering with his support staff and members of Mosaic’s International and Church Relations teams to advocate for the full inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in our faith communities.

While there, Ryan talked about his job, his friends and his life in Iowa.

He also posed for tons of selfies, played basketball and tried sushi for the very first time.

It was a chaotic week, sharing stories with the thousands of teens and adults who were brave enough to stop by Mosaic’s booth and experience some of the really tough barriers that the people Mosaic supports face.

Ryan and a young woman named Sarah, a high school senior from North Carolina, became fast friends.

They talked about Ryan’s Special Olympics successes, his job and his friends.

Sarah shared that she volunteered with Special Olympics and wants to study psychology and special education in college.

By the end of the week, hundreds of students had taken photos with Ryan and his selfie stick.

They shared them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, giving life to Mosaic’s belief that our faith communities are better when everyone can fit in God’s picture.

This story originally appeared in Mosaic’s FY 2015 Annual Report. You can read more here.

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